Stooped figures march across a grey screen in a still from Thinkers by Daniel Cowlam

The Idle Index Archive

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The Idle Index is an exhibition and online project featuring screensavers created by artists based in, or with links to, Leicester.

The Idle Index is an online project featuring screensavers created by artists based in, or with links to, Leicester. We have published a new set of screensavers annually since 2018. The works from 2018 and 2019 can be previewed below.

The full collection – including the 2020 screensavers – is available to access via a Chrome extension.

Download The Idle Index Browser Extension

We’ve recorded a short installation guide here.

The extension allows users to select screensavers to activate during moments of online idleness.


Daniel Cowlam – Thinkers

Daniel Cowlam’s work often borrows and distorts imagery from novels, broadcasting and design history. Thinkers draws from old animation and advertising. Long-legged but otherwise limbless figures march forward (or backwards) across the screen getting nowhere

Anoushka Goodwin – Circuit Cleansing

Cleansing Circuits is a screensaver animated in the Cute Cut video editor app. It is a mash up of the artist’s pseudo spirituality and experimenting with what our personal mobile devices can be pushed to do creatively.


Les Hayden – Dinosaurs at Night

Dinosaurs at Night is a comedic animated screensaver. Faced with crashing software when trying to fill the screen with wandering characters, the artist decided to add one large figure instead.


Sam Jones – Law of Objects

In Law of Objects, colourful objects fill the monitor, moving into free space, settling together to create a haphazard, multifarious and exciting visual display.



Courtney Askey – Ever Idle Never Idol

Ever Idle Never Idol reflects the anxiety of modern productivity. As we take our work with us on our phones, every area of our life can become a workspace. Areas that were once reserved for intimate and solitary moments no longer have a natural boundary and the line between public and private diminishes.


Kerry Jackson – Pink Square

Vivid geometric patterns flood the screen jolting the computer user to attention. The eye is drawn to a pink square as it leaps and pulses around the screen before transforming colour and returning on its journey reinvigorated. Pink Square acts to revive the viewer, inspiring them to regain their own productivity.


Karanjit Panesar – Screensaver

I was thinking about slowness and laziness. Sitting by a clothes line in a breeze, watching a rippling flag and other such cliches. I have also been enjoying making these slow motion animations in the software – they are sort of sickening. My favourite screen saver was the one with the 3D pipes that filled the screen. I used to set the idle time really low and wait for the screen saver to come on so I could watch it.


Christopher Samuel – Cripple

Cripple explores the idea of idleness in the context of our reality in which disabled people have been pushed further to the margins of society as a direct consequence of austerity. The weaponisation of productivity under austerity means many view disabled people as lazy or idle and not deserving of help. Without support, however, their human rights are compromised, disabling them from participating in society and forcing them into a cycle of marginalisation



Lead image credit: Daniel Cowlam, Thinkers